Lab 11 - relative age dating (fossils), who's on first? relative dating (student activity)
By using fossils in undisturbed sequence of rocks. The cards should be duplicated, laminated, and cut into sets and randomly mixed when given to the students.
Sequence the remaining cards by using the same process.
Return to top To enhance this activity, have students match the fossil sketches to real fossils. When the earth's forces move rock layers up or down unevenly, so that the layers are slanted.
If sedimentary rock layers are not horizontal then what has happened? What can disturb rock layers so much that they place older layers on top of younger layers?
Sequencing the rock layers will show the students how paleontologists use fossils to give relative dates to rock strata. The fossils within rock layer OXD i.
The graptolite, placoderm, ammonite, ichthyosaur, and shark's tooth could possibly be used as index fossils since they are found in only one layer.
It may be useful to share with students after they have completed Set B and answered the Interpretation Questions. The cards in Set B represent rock layers containing various fossils.
For example, most limestones represent marine environments, whereas, sandstones with ripple marks might indicate a shoreline habitat or a riverbed. This will enable your teacher to quickly check whether you have the correct sequence.
Review of Relative Dating
The Law of Superposition, which states that in an undisturbed horizontal sequence of rocks, the oldest rock layers will be on the bottom, with successively younger rocks on top of these, helps geologists correlate rock layers around the world.
How can Scientists establish the relative ages of rocks?
The sequence must be exactly in the order as written. The Speed dating is bullshit and comparison of exposed rock layers or strata in various parts of the earth led scientists in the early 19th century to propose that the rock layers could be correlated from place to place.
In reading earth history, these layers would be "read" from bottom to top or oldest to most recent. Once an organism disappears from the sequence it cannot reappear later. This rock layer would be younger as indicated by the appearance of new fossils in the rock stratum.
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This would also mean that fossils found in the deepest layer of rocks in an area would represent the oldest forms of life in that particular rock formation.
Stratigraphic Section for Set B. Figure 2-A gives some background information on the individual fossils.
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